Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday asked Tesla to set up a shop in India in a bid to sell its electric vehicles in the country. The minister also asked the company not to export cars from China to India. Also Read - Tesla India policy executive quits after company puts India plan on hold: Report
“If Elon Musk (Tesla CEO) is ready to manufacture in India then there is no problem … Come to India, start manufacturing, India is a large market they can export from India,” Gadkari said during an interactive session at the Raisina Dialogue, as reported by PTI. Also Read - Elon Musk will address Twitter employees at a town hall on Thursday first time since acquisition talks
“But if he wants to manufacture in China and sell in India, then it cannot be a good proposition for India,” Gadkari added.
Furthermore, Gadkari stressed on the fact that India was a large market and there is a huge potential for electric vehicles in the country. Also Read - Twitter is reportedly giving Elon Musk access to all of its data: Here’s why
Tesla in a stalemate
Tesla has been in a stalemate in India for quite some time now. The US-based electric vehicle maker has been trying hard to import and sell its EVs in India. However, the existing taxes have prohibited the company from doing so. Tesla’s executives have also lobbied in New Delhi to cut taxes for almost a year, which the company’s Elon Musk says are among the highest in the world. However, the Indian government hasn’t been convinced as the company has failed to share a detailed plan of investing in the country, something that is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ vision.
With neither side willing to change, the discussions have reached a weird stalemate.
As of now, India levies an import tax of 100 percent on electric vehicles which have a ‘landing cost’ (car’s price and shipping charges) of $40,000 (Rs 30.6 lakhs) or more. Tesla says that this tax would make India its most expensive market, which in turn would make the car out of reach for most Indian consumers. And so, the company has asked the Indian government to grant it tax concessions so that it can start selling cars in India. The company has requested the government to standardise the tax on all EVs to 40 percent and withdraw the social welfare surcharge of 10 percent. However, the government has so far refused to grant any concessions to the company.